During a trip to Israel in 2017, Charles Aznavour gave an interview to the local Zahav newspaper. We present to you excerpts from this interview.
Many of those who were born in exile do not feel anything for their country of origin – they simply aren’t aware of it. You are an exception. How do you explain the connection with a country where you have never lived but whose red thread has passed through your life and work?
“I was born into a unique family. My parents, people of art, carefully preserved the traditions of Armenia even in exile and brought them into our lives. We, children, were brought up in Armenian culture. My sister and I knew our history, our customs – all those values that make up the cultural and social code.
Yes, I am French, but my Armenian roots were always important for me, and I tried to support Armenia as I could, and I continue to do so. If someone is gifted with the talent of my degree, and if someone is treated kindly by life like me, he is obliged to support everyone who is less fortunate. And my roots demand that I support Armenia in these circumstances. In my life, it [Armenia] is just ‘the one who is less fortunate.’”
Life has given you a lot of true, faithful friends representing various social strata, including politicians of the highest rank, artists, actors… Do you have a secret on “how to make friends and influence people”?
“I have never tried to make friends on purpose. This happened on its own. True friends are always found on their own. I have been lucky all my life in this regard – I had the honor to meet a variety of people, including kings and popes.
Some of them indeed became my friends and are friends to this day. But I assure you that there has never been any special strategy behind this. I’m just lucky in this regard, that’s all.”
If you could chat to that nine-year-old boy, Charles, who dropped out of school to perform together with his sister on the streets of Paris, what would you tell him?
“Hmm… I would tell him: ‘Never give up, Charles. Be yourself boy. And also – please try to always remain a great original!’”